Basic Needs Program tackles food insecurity
Supporting members in their well-being has always been Humana’s priority, so when COVID-19 threatened to affect lives and access to needed resources like food and medical care, teams within the enterprise looked to find innovative ways to help.
Humana’s Medicare Advantage membership is comprised of seniors, who already are among the most vulnerable to food insecurity and now were some of the most affected by social distancing – facing restricted access to transportation and groceries. Knowing this, Humana set about to find ways to support them.
One of the most consequential initiatives instituted during 2020 turned out to be one of the most acutely needed – Humana’s Basic Needs Program, which launched to meet urgent and emergent food needs because of the pandemic.
Through the program, member-facing associates were empowered to screen and support food insecure members. As requests came in, the Basic Needs team quickly matched requests to resources, delivering 14 nutritionally-balanced meal kits to those in need for a week’s worth of food.
At the height of the pandemic last summer, Humana fielded as many as 2,000 requests daily and, as of March 2021, approximately 120 requests were still being taken daily.
By the end of 2020, the Basic Needs Program had served 77,863 members and provided more than 1.1 million meals. Humana At Home, care managers who care for Humana’s most vulnerable members in need of at-home care management, were able to place 35 percent of the total orders, showing that the need was particularly acute within those who were home–bound.
Over time, Humana plans to study the impact of the meals on health outcomes, but the priority through 2021 continues to be addressing food insecurity during the pandemic.